We take photos on a daily basis with our cell phones or other gadgets. Seeing and sharing images is easier than ever and we hardly even give it a second thought. But rewind, go back to the 1950s and the only way you could save a special moment in time was to load a camera with film, take a picture and go get the film developed.
Imagine if you found 1.200 rolls of film from the 1950s and all of it was undeveloped and shot by one photographer. Just looking at that stack of film would drive me insane. What wonders where on the film? Did the film even survive the past 66 years? Well this is the dilemma that is plaguing Levi Bettwieser. To resolve this issue, he has started a project on Indiegogo to try and save this treasure trove, this time machine. Here is his plea for help.
Hello everyone, my name is Levi Bettwieser. I’m the founder and film technician for The Rescued Film Project, rescuedfilm.com. For those who don’t know, The Rescued Film Project is an archive of images that we rescued from lost and forgotten rolls of film, from all over the world. To date, we’ve rescued over 18,000 images. We could not have done this without the support of all of you.
We started this campaign, because we need your help again. Around 1 year ago, we acquired 66 bundles of film. Each bundle contains anywhere from 8-36 rolls of film, totaling what we’re estimating to be about 1,200 rolls, all shot by the same photographer in the 1950s. Now that fact in itself is intriguing, but even more interesting is the way in which this film was packaged. Each roll once shot, was placed back in it’s box with a hand written note detailing what was shot. Then the box was wrapped in several layers of aluminum foil, then athletic tape. Then the photographer wrote on the athletic tape what was on the film. Once the photographer had enough rolls like this, they were packed tightly in a cigar box then the cigar box was wrapped in multiple layers of newspaper, aluminum foil, and athletic tape and then once again labeled with the contents. Recently I had an amazing group of volunteers come help unpack and catalog the rolls and in 6 hours, 8 of us were only able to get through 22 of the 66 bundles because of this packaging.
I’m asking for your help because this is way more film than I can process myself. I’ve actually processed one roll and you’ll see that while the film has images, it is degraded. This film was shot in the 1950s, and every day it goes unprocessed, it deteriorates a little more. So we’re partnering with Blue Moon Camera in Portland to process the majority of this film for us. Unlike our project which is just done in our spare time outside of our full time jobs, Blue Moon Camera can add this film to their daily processing queue and rescue this film much faster than we could. They’ve also been generous enough to grant us a large discount. But, it still is going to cost money for time, chemicals and disposal, envelopes, archive sleeves, shipping, and travel. So please help fund this project so we can rescue these images and ensure that the photographers memories and dedication to preserving them aren’t lost. If everyone who follows us on social media and enjoys seeing the images we rescue gives just $1, we will have more than enough to save this film.
Thank you everyone for the support, please share this video with others. We will be documenting this process along the way so everyone will know exactly what’s going on.
Click HERE to head on over and contribute to Levi’s Indiegogo mission.